New D.C. parking rules will require residents and visitors to move their parked cars whenever there is a street parade or race.Parking during parades and street races is about to get a lot stricter. Don't like it? The District of Columbia city council says you can blame the terrorists. After the violence in Charlottesville last year, along with a rental truck terror attack in New York City, the city council began debating ways to protect the nation's capital from similar acts of violence. The new parking policy will require thousands of people to move their vehicles if parked along parade or race routes. Not everyone on the city council was sold on the changes. Ward 6 council member Charles Allen expressed doubt over whether the new parking policies would actually keep people safer.
“I have a hard time understanding that that’s an appropriate response to a threat when I feel like the much-more-likely scenario is … somebody with a backpack, if that really was how they wanted to harm and do damage,” Allen questioned.The new parking rules will immediately apply and affect upcoming races like the Capitol Hill Classic and the Rock 'n Roll Marathon (happening on March 10). Representatives from the D.C. Metro Police Department were on hand at a city council meeting to answer the council's questions. The Director of the District's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Christopher Rodriguez, admitted that he was not aware of the police receiving specific threats before issuing this policy change. “These types of threats exist at all times and in any place,” Rodriguez explained at the council meeting. “Most times now, in this threat environment, we’re never going to get the piece of intelligence or the piece of information before something happens.”
Under the previous policy, while vehicles were supposed to move before big road races or parades, cars and trucks were generally allowed to stay put if the owners were not able to get them moved in time. When races were limited to just one side of the street, cars were allowed to remain parked on the other side of the street. Under the new parking rules, all that will change. “No parking” signs will now be posted 24 to 72 hours before a street event is scheduled to kick off, to inform residents and visitors of an impending event. People parked on the marked streets will then be required to move their vehicles prior to the start and keep them away until the event has concluded. While this might be simple to plan for a local street parade, many of Washington, D.C.'s span the entire city. Below is the course map for the Rock 'n Roll Marathon. The 26.2 mile course whips and winds around the District. On any given day, thousands of cars are parked on this route. Residents who are out of town, but normally allowed to leave their car parked, will likely see their vehicles towed. Visitors who aren't aware of the new parking rules will face nightmare scenarios of having to track down their towed cars. And even if people do move their vehicles in time, where will they go? Parking in these neighborhoods can already be a nightmare. Introducing thousands of parking refugees into surrounding neighborhoods will definitely be noticed ... Residents are already crying foul and saying that 24 hours notice is not nearly enough of a warning, and if the police do start enforcing this new parking code next month against residents who miss the deadlines to move their cars, expect the next city council meeting to be a lot less cordial.